Wednesday, August 11, 2010
The Power of Social Networking on our Brains . . . The Herbert Mesa Twitter Follow Phenom
This morning, I am particularly thinking of the power of social networking, and in this example, Twitter.
I’ve been kind of mindlessly and listlessly watching Food Network’s “Next Food Network Star,” not really getting into it all that much this season and not really caring who won and sort of reacting a bit negatively to the “I’m a STAR!” thing some of the FN cooks/chefs have really aggressively attached to their names more here lately it seems. But, it’s something to do, television is, when I just want to Not Think.
So, the other day, I go into my email and see that I have new twitter followers. I always check them out, and I follow an eclectic group of people, not just writers and book people, but foodies and artists and people who just make me laugh or think. I'm http://twitter.com/katmagendie .
http://twitter.com/herbmesa by the way .
He posted a few tweets about “Hey Guys! Help me out by voting . . .” and et cetera.
Now, something curious and completely unexpected and unplanned happened next. When I next watched FNS, I suddenly “Saw” Herb as a person that I related to in a way that was connected somehow solely by my brain—he wasn’t just some two-dimensional image on the TV screen. He’d followed me; I’d followed back; he’d asked for help; suddenly I wanted to help him. Mind you, again, before this I was mostly ambivalent.
Next I know, I’m rooting for Herb to do well. Next I know, I’m going on the vote site on Food Network (something I’d not done at all before this) and clicking on his name and the word: “Vote.” Suddenly, I am rooting for this guy because he seemed—what? Approachable? A nice guy? He followed me and that endeared him to me? He simply asked? Whatever my brain synapses decided, they did it on their own and I reacted to that.
Brain whirring and deciding whatever it decided, all from that “Herbert Mesa is following you on Twitter” email I received.
We should never underestimate the power of Social Networking, but beyond that, we shouldn’t underestimate the power of just reaching out and “Following” or “Friending” someone or making a comment on their blog, et cetera—making that personal connection that says “I’m here; I’m a real person; I need your support. Hey, here I am! It’s me!”
Granted, I’ve never gone on any social networking site and asked anyone to buy my books, because, well, that’s a bit different –there’s money involved and it just seems “not right” for me to do that, and books are so personal, you know? However, it makes me very happy when social networking finds me new readers—what if social networking sent my books into Best Seller status (I've been on a couple of "best seller" lists-regionally and on kindle, however!)? I do know that through my blog I have reached many new readers all over the world—something I’d never have done without social networking. And through Facebook, readers have “friended” me and I’ve come to know them (I'm on FB with my name: Kathryn Magendie). Through twitter I’ve ‘met’ some truly wonderful people, too. I’ve found new authors on soc networking myself, and have bought their books--authors I'd never have known otherwise.
So, meanwhile, my brain has flickered and rearranged and somehow decided that I should root for Herb Mesa on Food Network Star, just because he followed me, just because my brain worked out that this was what it wanted me to do. So, well,—go Herb!